INTERVIEW; We talk to Waterloo Music about the local support for the independent music shop throughout lockdown.
As the light at the end of this very long COVID tunnel seems to be creeping ever closer into sight, Antix Music Network shine a light on the local businesses that have continued to keep the Yeovil Music Scene well and truly alive.
Throughout the unforeseen Coronavirus Pandemic, it’s fair to say the music industry in all of its forms has been overshadowed, and one of the hardest hit industries throughout the past 11 months.
One business in particular which has proven to keep local music alive is Waterloo Music, an independent music shop based in the centre of Yeovil on West Hendford. Recently under new management, Ed Swinburn has seen the popular shop close for months at a time, yet the support from local musicians has been evident.
We spoke to Ed to get the run down on the last 11 months, and a look into the future for Waterloo Music.
Frazer Mitchell; Hi Ed, it’s been a while! First off, how are you getting on? How is Lockdown 3 treating you?
Ed Swinburn; Hi Frazer! It certainly has been a while! We're doing our best to stay busy, use this time to tie up loose ends & make sure we come back absolutely ready to pick up where we left off!
FM; So I want to jump straight into the past 11 months - it must have been an absolute rollercoaster - when did you become manager of Waterloo Music, and how have you been dealing with the various lockdowns imposed in the area?
Ed; It's been a huge challenge for the whole team for sure! I became manager sometime in the first lockdown, I don't know it all melds into one at this point! For us, getting our website fully operational has been a huge asset to us during the lockdowns! It's allowed us to continue working from home & most importantly, assist customers with their queries!
FM; And what’s your position now?
Ed; Currently we're operating on a click & collect basis for any online orders, but we do also offer local delivery as well which we've done quite a bit of! On the workshop side of things, myself & our technician are in the shop on Thursdays dealing with any repairs, re-strings, setups etc that musicians need during the lockdowns period!
FM; It’s great to see what you’ve been doing with the shop - your social media has definitely taken a leap with your features like #LunchtimeLicks really taking off, have you got any more plans for social media and involving local acts when you’re able to reopen?
Ed; Oh gosh where to start! We've got so much planned it's hard to keep track of at times! We always love involving the local community in our social media as we've been doing with our #LunchtimeLicks where people send us in their favourite licks to play & features on our Facebook/Instagram pages, but we'd love to be able to have some local acts visit us in the shop, when we're able to, for a "Waterloo Sessions" type of thing! There were talks of a possible podcast as well but that's in it's infancy at the moment! Watch this space!
FM; That sounds great! It seems this year has been the year for “buying local”, especially around Christmas time. It almost became a new trend this year, to help support local independent businesses like yourself. How would you say the support has been for Waterloo Music?
Ed; The support we've seen over the past 8 months or so has been absolutely incredible! I think the first month back in the shop after the initial lockdown was record breaking for us, which is so so positive & it really gave us a huge motivation boost! The same can absolutely said for the Christmas period! With the second lockdown interrupting the entirety of November, it was the best feeling when we ended up having one of our busiest December's ever! We're always incredibly humbled by the outpouring of support from the community, it's because of that we can continue to do what we do best!
FM; So Waterloo Music provided a guitar and set up for Jamie Witt’s Charity Guitar Giveaway. You contributed with an original Fender Stratocaster. It looks a beautiful guitar, what is it like to play? It appears there will be a very lucky winner!
Ed; As I said before, we love getting involved with local acts, and who better to get involved with than one of the best guitar players in the country! Jamie has always been a huge supporter of the local music scene & we are always looking to get behind anything that continues to support the growth of music in this area! And what a fantastic chance for someone to own such a beautiful guitar that plays like an absolute dream!
FM; So outside of Waterloo Music, you’re also 1/5 of Microlight - how have you guys found the last 11 months? Have you managed to practice, or write any music, individually or together? What’s the future for the band?
Ed; It's been tough on all of us, we just want to get out & play more than anything! In terms of actually getting together, I think we had 1 practice outside during the summer for 1 outside gig & that's been about it really! We've been working on a lot of video content for our social media, as some of you may have seen on our Facebook & YouTube! Of course when we're able to, we want to get straight back into gigging, I miss it!
FM; I assume with the amount of free time with the lack of gigs and rehearsals, you’ve had chance to find new music. What’s on your playlist that you think readers need to hear? Or have you been digging out tracks from your younger years?
Ed; Currently I've been revisiting my roots with a lot of Slash & Velvet Revolver, getting back into that no nonsense hard rock! I'm a huge fan of instrumental guitar music as well with a lot of Plini, Nick Johnston, Polyphia, The Aristocrats, Cory Wong, the list goes on! I've also found myself listening to a lot of synth/retro/vapourwave music as well & loving how well it gels with guitar! The Midnight are currently one of my favourites from that vein of music!
FM; One last thing before I let you go; readers probably won’t know this but Ed and I were actually at the same school, sat next to each other in a few subjects, and we always got told off writing guitar tabs in the back of our maths books. It's interesting you mention Slash and Velvet Revolver because they were acts we admired back in the day! Now you’re the manager of a guitar shop, surely it’s a bit of a dream come true for you?
Ed; I think we planned a medley of Crazy Train, Master Of Puppets & Beat It once didn't we?! I'll have to see if I've still got it somewhere! Honestly it really is a bit of a dream come true for me! It always felt special visiting a guitar shop when I was younger & even more so when you walked out with something new! I'm now on the other side of the fence, getting to experience that feeling of excitement second hand, anytime a person visits the shop looking for their new guitar or maybe even their first guitar! I am so incredibly thankful that this is what I get to do nearly everyday!
FM; What a medley that is! We'll have to jam that one day! Thanks so much for your time, and I wish you the best with the shop and Microlight!
Ed; Thank you for having me! It's been fun!
For more information of current opening times and offers, follow Waterloo Music’s over on Facebook, or their website.
Frazer Mitchell - Producer, DJ, and Events Coordinator at Antix Music Network